Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lieutenant-General Asim Bajwa on Monday rubbished rumours regarding an extension in General Raheel Sharif's tenure as Chief of Army Staff, quoting the Army chief as saying he will "retire on the due date" in November this year.
Speculation had been rife regarding an extension in the COAS' term after former military ruler Musharraf called for an extension in his tenure, warning against a change in the military leadership.
"What he is doing right now, it needs continuity and if there is any change in the leadership amidst this all, all good work which has been done so far would go to waste," Musharraf earlier said.
Bajwa in a series of tweets quoted the Army Chief as saying, "Pakistan Army is a great institution. I don't believe in extension and will retire on the due date."
"Speculations are baseless," the COAS said, adding, "Efforts to root out terrorism will continue with full vigour and resolve."
The announcement was lauded by a number of lawmakers and leaders belonging to various political parties.
The post of Army chief is inarguably the most powerful in Pakistan. On Nov 27, 2013, the government approved Sharif’s appointment for the post, a position that he took over from Ashfaq Parvez Kayani who stepped down on Nov 29, 2013.
Former army chief, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, served as military chief for six years after rules were relaxed to grant him an extension in July 2010 by the PPP-led coalition government in what then prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said was in the interest of continuity at a time when the war on terror was ongoing against elements who wanted to impose a system of their choice on the country.
Born in Quetta on June 16, 1956 to Major and Mrs Muhammad Sharif, Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif grew up steeped in the military tradition.
He attained his formal education at Government College Lahore and later went on to attend the Pakistan Military Academy.
As a young officer, he performed his duties in Gilgit in an infantry brigade and also served as adjutant of Pakistan Military Academy.
Over the years, Sharif climbed up the military ladder mentored by Musharraf who handed him command of the 11th Infantry Division in Lahore.
He was awarded the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, the second highest civilian award and honour that is given to both civilians and military officers of the Pakistan armed forces.
Despite the common surname, Raheel Sharif is not related to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, but is known to be close to tribal affairs minister Lieutenant-General Abdul Qadir Baloch, a key confidante of the Sharif family.
The general is married with two sons and a daughter.
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